Gender Responsive Standards – a vital benchmark of a progressive society
What is United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5?
Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5) set by the United Nations. In line with the goal, the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) adopted the Gender – Responsive Standards Initiative in November 2016.
What are Gender-Responsive Standards?
As part of the Initiative, standardization bodies around the world signed the Declaration for “Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development” that aims to strengthen the use of standards and technical regulations as powerful tools to attain SDG 5, integrate a gender lens in the development of both standards and technical regulations, and elaborate gender indicators and criteria that could be used in standards development.
The Gender Responsive Standards Initiative (GRSU) mooted by The United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is a working group comprising representatives from standardization bodies, gender specialists, representatives of regulatory bodies, policy makers, NGOs, UN organizations and members of the academic community.
Gender responsive standards are required because women are widely under-represented in developing the standards that are congruent to many areas of our lives.
Declaration of Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development
The Declaration of Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development calls on Standardization bodies towards a more gender-balanced and inclusive standards development process. They need to implement a Gender Action Plan which will be different depending on their specific circumstances and starting points. UNECE works to raise awareness and build the capacity of policy makers to participate in standards development and implementation of existing standards.
List of standards organizations having signed the Declaration as of 19 September 2019
BIS and Gender Responsive Standards Initiative
BIS is a signatory to the Declaration of Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development. As the widely followed benchmark for endorsing quality standards in India, BIS also commits itself to empower women and girls and comes forward to support the UNECE through the following Objectives:
Working towards gender balanced / representative and inclusive standards development environments
Creating gender responsive standards
Creating gender responsive national standard body
Promotional activities towards above
To help us work towards the objectives of the Gender Responsive Standards Initiative, please send your suggestions to Rachna Sehgal, Chairperson Task Force on Gender Responsive Standards, Bureau of Indian Standards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your suggestions could be as below:
Submitting proposals for consideration and inclusion in standards for specific requirements that eases the women workforce in all fields/sectors
Sending a brief case study (up to 2 pages) which demonstrates the need for having gender responsive standards. An example could be protective gear for professional women not taking into account woman morphology.
Describing a situation where women’s needs were not addressed in a standard and suggestion that there is a need to have a new standard or modify an existing standard for women specific requirements.